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Press Release

Winchester Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Fatal Dose of Fentanyl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

HARRISONBURG, Va.  – A Winchester, Virginia man, who sold a fatal dose of fentanyl in October 2020, pleaded guilty yesterday to federal drug charges.

Kenneth James Hughes Jr., 27, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg to two counts of distribution of fentanyl.

According to court documents, following a fentanyl overdose resulting in the death of the user on October 23 2020, an investigation by law enforcement revealed Hughes and his supplier to be the deceased user’s source of supply. 

Law enforcement’s investigation revealed that Hughes sold drugs to a variety of individuals throughout the Western District of Virginia. In October 2020, one of Hughes’ customers contacted him in regard to acquiring fentanyl in the form of “pressed pills,” namely, fentanyl pills made to appear like Oxycodone 30 mg pills. Hughes contacted his supplier and arranged and facilitated a purchase of two pressed pills  by the customer from his supplier.

The individual who purchased the pressed pills subsequently consumed the drugs and was found unresponsive the following morning at his home in Winchester. It was determined his death was the result of acute fentanyl intoxication.

Additionally, in November 2020, in Berryville, Virginia, Hughes sold twenty-two capsules containing fentanyl for $300 to a confidential informant working on behalf of law enforcement. 

Hughes is scheduled to be sentenced on July 19, 2023 and faces a sentence of six to ten years in prison pursuant to a written plea agreement with the United States. A United States District Court Judge will determine the final sentence after consideration of the federal sentencing guidelines and the sentencing factors set forth by Congress.  

The Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the Winchester Police Department, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Division investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Lee is prosecuting the case.

Updated April 12, 2023